Desparate Need for School Help

Need help finding a school for my 11 yr. old niece who has up until this year attended all Italian school. She desperately needs to continue her education in English according to school authorities. Can you please help our family find her a chair???? Thank you so much. Gwen

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12 replies »

  1. I thought the last comment was from the OP? I think what she is saying helps to understand the issues involved and why it is proving difficult to find a place of education for this girl. 🙂

  2. Very sad. School obviously aren’t helping either. From the situation you describe they probably couldn’t afford somewhere like the ISF anyway. They may be better looking at a school like Sacre Cuore. It is Italian but, from parents with children there, I know that a lot of the teachers are mother tongue English as well as teaching in Italian. It is a private Catholic school but if you look at the website it looks very nice. The advantage is that it goes all the way up to 18 years of age. They will have to pay but nothing like the ISF. I would certainly look at it.

    • It’s not that they can’t afford ISF, it’s a matter of the father not putting the education of the child first. Amazingly selfish. Sacre Cuore is of course an option, however, the religious core is something they’d like to avoid. Being an ex-pat requires flexibility, patience and perseverance, and my niece has parents that demonstrate a lack of all three. Thanks for your comments, much appreciated.

      • Thank you for your comment and patience. I would like to mention that this comment thread is not going in the direction of helping or answering the question. The next comments that come in that are not helpful comments will not be posted. We are posting questions to be helpful not to criticize people or their choices.

  3. So father is German and mother speaks English? What language do they all speak together? German? We are a completely English speaking household. My daughter did 4 years from materna to the end of prima in Italian and then went to the French school for two years where French was the classroom language and Italian the playground.

    My thought on your niece is that the teachers have given up on her, for whatever reason, and in the typical way they seem to here, have decided her failures are not their fault but the fault of her background…quite honestly I think her parents need to change the school for definite but I really think putting her into a school where not only is the language very different but also the culture and the way of teaching may be very detrimental to her. Is she about to start media or has she already repeated a year in elementare? I’m sure there are plenty of good Italian schools out there that can provide her with the help she needs. I’m assuming that she hasn’t been classed as having educational needs too? Could she be dyslexic for example? It all sounds like teachers washing their hands to me..

    • Yes, Rose, your suspicions are all true. They moved from Germany when my niece was 6 months old, so she should be completely conversant in English and Italian. But I think her ears were picking up a mishmash of all three. I think she also had ear troubles. Anyway, this little girl is really just a pawn between her angry parents and she is the loser. Mother can’t get a residency visa, work visa, etc. Father just got his visas this year!!!! They do at least have a family counselor but I believe she’s thinking of washing her hands of this mess. I appreciate all the comments that I’ve received. Thank you.

  4. Hi. Yes the only option I know of is the Internation school – IFS that Alyson has mentioned. My daughter is also 11 and has done the primary school and the first year of media school at a normal Italian state school and I have had no problems with school authorities so I don’t understand the problem with the authorities. Why are they saying she has to continue her studies in English? Does she require extra help with her Italian to be able to follow the lessons? Here in Italy they tend to get the child to repeat a year if they are behind the require level. In the school where my daughter is there is a chinese student that has repeated the first year twice as he has not made the grade (this is because he has only been in Italy for a couple of years and doesn’t yet have enough Italian languauge to follow and pass). I have several friends with children in the state schools where Italian is not the first language and the only friend that moved her daughters out of the state school was a swedish friend of mine who did it because they had learnt enough Italian as a second language and wanted them to improve their English as the main second language, nothing to do with the authorities. I hope you manage to resolve the problem in one way or another but it’s a bit worrying to hear that the authorites are trying to push the children into other schools! Which authority is it, are they legally allowed to do this?

    • Jackie: Thanks. The real problem is that she has been in Italian school since kindergarten and she should not be educationally declining but she is nevertheless. I believe the problem is that she never learned her ‘mother’ language from the start. As a toddler she had her father speaking to her in German, watching German cartoons, then listening to her parents converse in English and then having a couple of afternoons for play dates with the Italian kids next door, so and so. Holding her back for a repeat year isn’t going to remedy this situation, I’m afraid. The authorities are essentially the staff that has overseen her education up until now. Also a counselor the family has been working with for the last year to help remedy relationship issues is steadfast that the child needs English ed and to hold her back now would pose likely pose larger problems with respect to self-esteem, peer identification, and social development, etc. IFS seems to be the ticket. I’m trying to find out what the tuition fees are: would you mind telling what it’s costing you per annum. I’ve contacted the school but have not received a response yet and we’re running out of time as school starts soon. Thanks again.

      • Dear Gwen, oh what a situation to be in, It must be really difficult for her. It is so difficult to find the right balance for the language. I have always spoken my mother tongue to my children and hence not learnt Italian very quickly myself but they have learnt Italian from my partner and from the school/friends etc. I have German friends who have always spoken their mother tongue to their children, in fact their Italian answer phone even had a German message but they also had extra Italian lessons for their children. It is so difficult to know what to do as a parent and each child is so different in the way they learn and it sounds like there are three languages being learnt at home in your case! Yes I believe mother tongue language is important, I am fortunate not to have this as a problem and so my daughter is still in the Italian state school and so I’m sorry but I don’t know the fee’s for the IFS. I can post a message to the facebook blog site to see if anyone knows . Jackie

  5. Your only option in Florence is IFS. Why the need for English so urgently? Otherwise keep her in Italian school and do classes at a language school but that’s all they would be just language.

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